Tag Archives: museum Termas-da-Azenha

Nice plan: 2019 will be the “Year of the Butterfly”

Here you see the result of a few months work. It looks like a small wall, but all in all it takes a little while. Now, of course, we are not talking about 24/7.

This project started in the early days of the summer. In fact, this year is already “The year of the Butterfly”

A Russian girl gave the kickoff. She was here with her little sister, uncle, mother, grandmother and big dog for about a month and a half. She wanted to learn mosaics, and since I was working on another project called “The Little Mermaid” – she could easily participate.

She had an eye for it, more than her little sister. The latter was actually too young for that (4 is a bit young), and perhaps too impatient and too quickly distracted. No problem, Lisa went on.

She made the first butterfly, which was the pink one on the left

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Next, it was my sister’s turn. Exept for a few butterflies, they made some flowers as well. And the caterpillar.

I expected that summer guests would like to join in, but even though I have given many mosaic workshops, everyone would rather make something to take home.

French Nathalie was the only one who really enjoyed making a butterfly, and did so with great dedication. In one day she had made a large one out of very small pieces. Chapeau!

After the summer, my mosaic-buddy Astrid would come by, and volunteer Gerda had also indicated that she’d already done little things, and couldn’t wait to do something bigger.

That’s of course the big advantage of the Termas: you can go big. Walls enough.

That’s something completely different than a bowl or a bird house.

That has its own challenges, don’t be mistaken! Working small is quite difficult, but I can imagine that at a certain point you might be fed up with it, that fiddle-die-doo on the square centimeter. Anyway, I am someone of the big gesture …

Front and back: check, side: check, top: check. A wall has so many sides …

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There was a guest who would like to participate with the Butterfly-Wall: Lucille. Also French, cooked great, nice bunch of guests, and besides nice memories of tasty meals she also left a beautiful palpable butterfly.

Astrid, daughter Isabelle and Gerda added a few more …

… and when they were gone, it started to rain. This means that it is not going to be finished soon … until the sun showed itself again. I grabbed myself by the hair, made some glue, took the box with white pieces and the mosaic pliars, and started working. Not too bad: in the morning sun.

Simply sticking pieces of white is just work, no fun

Finishing a mosaic is not always fun. Then the big gesture is quite a disadvantage; you would prefer to be fiddle-die-doo-ing on the square centimeter. Anyway, matter of discipline.

It’s finished! Wonderful! Decoy butterflies on the wall, now butterflies in the garden

That will take some time, because they are now naturally too cold. But! Hopefully all the flowers will come up again, not too long, because in March it is already spring.

In Termas-da-Azenha, 2019 becomes the “Year of the Butterfly”.

(Thanks to all people mentioned above who participated in this lovely project!)

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

The Portuguese paper

Question of a child in 2054:

“Mommy, what is this white stuff?”

“That’s called paper. Don’t touch it! It’s very rare.”

“Where does paper come from?”

Portuguese paper. We have that here. Plenty. But then in a raw form

Ever realized? All paper come from these beings. These beauties only supply fibers for paper. .

They have to go.

Too high.

I’ve planted them myself, with a vague dream in mind …

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… “Wow, what a surprise! What beautiful old trees, how did they get here? They look amazing, how old are they?” She’s a little bit new-chic, but it’s sincere amazement. She looks beautiful and surprised, a little star on the grass. She still has everything of her own, except of course her digital arm. Everyone has that, European regulations. And maybe her hair color is not authentic …

But her admiration is, and not surprising. Who else has such trees in his garden still?

Every living tree higher then 2 meters has been cut down. Everywhere in the whole world

Fire hazard, damage to your home (expanding roots), high class greed – name a reason, but anyway, no tree gets older then about 10. Not throughout Portugal. Not in Europe.

The only thing that remains is the plantations. Portugal is full of it. For so long … longer than anyone can remember. Portugal has always been very happy with something that raised money. Making portuguese paper has always been a good way of earning your living.

Fibers are of course made artificial many years ago

You no longer need a tree or plant for that. The laboratories plus associated printers run overtime, because everything is made of fibers, isn’t it?

“They escape inspection – I have no idea how that could happen. I’ve had a visitor once – who said it’s because these trees have a very strong guardian angel … yeah! “He laughs a little uneasy.

“Anyway, they’ve been here for as long as I can remember. My grandmother planted them. Look, after a violent storm, my father had a few on the roof of his room. One of the first hurricanes … He told me that they had a good time cleaning up those two huge trees on the roof. There’s a movie of that, that my grandmother shot herself, but of course there’s nothing anymore, no device to watch it on.”

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He laughs again.

“Imagine making a movie with a telephone! Ha!” He stops and looks at the girl’s digitarm, a bit uncertain suddenly. “You know what a telephone is, don’t you?”

“Yes, yes, of course”, she says, looks at him, and they laugh together, while the girl looks again at the trees in admiration. Her gaze differs to the one of the boy, who still laughs a little uneasily, looking at her …

Oh yeah. A person can dream, can’t she?

The dream will not come true because they have to leave. Risk of falling. At least, if there’s a hurricane coming by. They can have a normal storm, they’ve proven that time after time. Now we run the risk of more violent weather, I’m having my doubts.

What do you think? Will we take the risk? Or just cut them down?

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Doing things Termas-style: wabi sabi

Finally I have found a good name for the style of the Termas!

I’ve been struggling with how to describe this for years. And it was also unclear to me why I always feel attracted to old and used objects.

It’s because of wabi sabi

Wabi sabi is the (Japanese) philosophy that we respect everything that goes by, is fragile, a bit damaged and modest. It’s about the beauty of the perishable, of the imperfect, of the rustic and of melancholy. It has nothing to do with the love of invincibility, youth and flawlessness, which we are so fond of in the West.

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I’ve always had it. Probably I have been a Japanese in my previous life

If I can choose between something new and something old, I will often choose the latter. Not always naturally, I prefer a new mattress and ditto underpants, but otherwise I often take to second-hand.

It seems like I feel what history is attached to it

In my youth it wasn’t a thing. Almost everyone used everything for a long time, because most people didn’t have much to spend. With the increasing prosperity something new was increasingly appreciated. You see that happening here and now. Many Portuguese go for new. Maybe that’s why these big stores are so successful here …

In the seventies it was fashionable to have old things. You put the discarded Singer sewing machine from your grandmother in the living room, preferably painted purple, surrounded by all kinds of skimpy plants, with her creaking rocking chair next to it. It was then the reverse: if you didn’t have an old grandmother with a rocking chair, you could probably get one who had been made old on purpose. The chair, of course.

Flea markets were incredibly popular, and antique dealers were all happy and content

That changed from one day to another – in my experience at least. I hadn’t paid attention, and boom, there were the eighties. From cluttered living rooms with lots of plants, books and old junk,we went to only the essentials, neon light and black linoleum on the floor. Or that trend of everything completely white. I remember that I’ve been staring in amazement through a large, bare window into a living room where literally everything and everything was white.

Bizarre. As if you live at the North Pole. Not exactly cozy and homely

Fortunately, not everything and everyone fell prey to that white wash affair. There was also an – elitist – trend to renovate old furniture and to give it an artistic twist. There was a store that I really liked to go to. Dutch Design, later very popular. I can still remember wonderful dining room furniture: a huge fifty-year-old wooden table, polished with the chairs around it, and each had cow horns on the top of the back.

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Brilliant idea, nicely executed, but I can imagine that after a while the surprise is over. You don’t encounter such things much anymore.

The current trend, especially in Portugal, is new, gray and bare. No frills, everywhere, tiles and a lot of dark gray. As if one anticipates decay. Cars: black, dark or medium gray with silver edges along the windows. The latter is very important, that shows you how high your status is. Fashion: practical, dark-colored, no frills. Architecture: the box fashion. Everything straight, straight lines, like a box. The only frivolity you can afford (if you are a modern, fashion-conscious person, at least) is a little corridor between your boxes.

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So sorry, I think it’s gruesome. This is the ugliest of the ugliest I can imagine, except of course “the Pink Monster” (a hotel made of two huge big pink boxes with a little corridor inbetween) a bit further alongside us. On the other hand, the wooden rustic hut above – although with an aluminum window – also goes a bit far to the other extreme.

We’re good here in the Termas. Wabi sabi the portudutch way

We’re in the right place.

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Life is rumbling on in Portugal

Monday morning, I had to go to Figueira da Foz ánd to Soure. Two different directions.
I chose Figueira, because that’s where the new gasket for the boiler Casa Oliveira has to come from, amongst other things. That boiler project has been waiting a month already.

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credits: Julien Tabet

I don’t know how things go with you, but when I leave those pieces, they just disappear after a while

I don’t know, they just go away. Fed up waiting for treatment, something like that.
Suddenly an essential bolt, or a plug is missing, simply not to be found ever again.

How it’s possible – no idea. You disassemble a boiler – you don’t do that every day, so every year you have to scratch your head: how did this one work again? Then you succeed, and there you have a bunch of parts and a stalactite of limestone on the heating element. Pretty nice, but that has to go off.

That’s quite simple. You do that with a bucket of vinegar. Liters and liters of vinegar

Usually the magnesium rod needs to be replaced. So I have to go to Figueira, to the shop with a very nice lady, who greets me very enthusiastically every year. Hello! There I was again! For the rods!

But yes, life rumbles on, and all kinds of things are happening, so then those parts of that boiler remain. Some more remained in the past weeks … some rooftops for example …. but fortunately the contractor came this week. Eduardo is a newly-found treasure, a well-tempered young man, who knows how to handle things.

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I spoke to him on the phone last night, on Sunday evening (a time almost blasphemous – unwirtten law: on sundays nobody talks business) He had not realized that there are still stuck with a few open roofs and that rain is expected. He thought we were going to wait for the insurance company first, but it looks like you can wait until the end of times. Three weeks without a word. Great performance, Fidelidade!

So life goes on, but so do we

We were expecting some guests – four families in total, so you also have to do something to make their stay clean and nice and comfortable. Nice detail: they all came for the second of even the xxth time. One couple of newcomers but that were old acquaintances from my previous life.

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Nicely chatting on the terrace behind their room, despite the – yes, again, what’s the plan? Every weekend storm? ! – fairly hard cold northern wind. They wanted to buy an alambique, and I knew they have ‘m on the market in Louriçal. I’ve looked at one of those before, because they’re so beautiful, but I’m not going to do anything with it. It’s just greed.

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On the 31st of October it was a full house. A special day, traditionally seen, for the Portuguese. They all go to the cemetery to decorate the graves of their loved ones with lots of flowers and candles. That looks great. A fairy tale.

People return to their birthplace to pay their respect to their ancestors. That is the best part of this week

Insurances, contractors, boilers, guests – all of that is very important, of course, but the most important thing is: life goes on, let’s make something beautiful of it before we’re blown away and / or lie in the cemetery!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Restoration after restoration after Leslie

“Gosh, she’s just rebellious”,  Nico jokes at Astrid, when I – again, against all warnings – gently push a tree trunk in the bonfire, which gives a nice fire drizzle.

“Exactly!”  I agree, “I just like to have a homeless day tomorrow! I’ve had it with lifting roof tiles and crawling over dusty attics!”

We received a lot of sympathetic messages, after last stormy weekend

We’re all sitting around the fire. It is actually still fairly warm, but it’s so cozy, such a fire. It’s only small, and we have a lot of wood to burn, so the coming winters we’ll not going to be cold, with all those fallen trees!

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The French guests, Lucille and Tomás, now belong to the volunteer team

They spontaneously offered their help on Sunday-after-Leslie, and were great at sweeping, sawing, painting and cooking.

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Especially the cooking part was a blessing, ’cause a nice meal after a hard day’s work is well appreciated! Lucille has been a chef gastronomique. In France, you have two options: gastronomique and traditionelle. The latter is the usual for the average Frenchman, the first is for the gourmet.

And we are gourmets!

Many other things have happened, this week. Bart and Broes have sawn all branches off the fallen eucalyptusses. Tomás was helping on ground level in between his painting the closets of the new laundry room. Nico made a wall of reeds at Casa Palmeira.

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And Astrid, Gerda, Isabelle and I try to finish the Butterfly Wall. Lots of activity everywhere!

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While walking back and forth to glue the mosaic butterflies on the wall, I kept sweeping bit by bit

You can let your thoughts flow freely during all clean-up and sweeping activities. I was sweeping the stairs, suddenly remembering a couple of volunteers who’d been here years ago. Italian Clara and English Paul. Clara could tell wonderful stories about her life, in a typical Italian way with lots of gestures and very musical. Paul made the beautiful mosaic trees on the “Little Chinese Wall”.

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They had lived in Margate, once the hometown of one of my favorite painters: William Turner. It always windy there. It seems to me very restless to live there. Clara is only a small woman, so she had to watch out that she was not taken by the wind. She told the story of how she found a solution, in her typical English-with-an-Italian accent.

She put big stones in the pockets of her coat. Then she stayed on the ground

I thought that was a smart solution, and I enjoyed the story very much. But now I look a bit differently at this phenomenon wind.

Yes, I’m definitely rebellious! What’s it good for – wind? Why isn’t the weather on this planet better arranged? What’s fun about it, hurricanes, temperatures of 40º below zero or 50º above, avalanches, floods, falling trees – why does that have to be? Blimey, couldn’t that be better organized?!

Give me a mosaic tree any time. At least that doesn’t come down with a hurricane!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Hello Hurricane Leslie

The parking lot is full, and the lights are on half. They no longer have bread, and the bread baking machines are definitely not going to work today.
Halfway through the first path in the supermarket I meet a man wearing a T-shirt with the print: This is only the beginning.

I meet him on every path during my visit at the supermarket.

 

Well, if that is the case, you can sweep me up after the next one

I had bravely gone to bed, like: “nothing wrong, just a bit of wind. Don’t be such a drama queen!”  I felt just like that at the end of the afternoon, when we hastily brought the pool covers, and the various shadow tents to safety, put all the garden tables and chairs inside, checked all the windows and closed the shutters everywhere. We slipped the stuff around the camper van of volunteers Nico and Gerda (who were in Lisbon with their daughter) under their car, and put their bikes in the shower.

Exaggerated? I really felt quite a drama queen

There was not even a breeze in the afternoon, and with some bright clouds a nice sun it was a lovely autumn weather. What do you mean, a hurricane’s coming? And he would land at Lisbon, so probably we got a bit of a strong wind. Come on. We can handle that, right? We can handle a bit of a storm, even if it already has a name – hurricane Leslie.

Ha! Around midnight I was in the kitchen, praying to a god that I don’t even believe in, with a song in my mind: “It never takes long, a hurricane, it never lasts long. It never takes long, a hurricane, it never lasts long.”

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One of the consequences of Lovely Leslie … 2 trees down and 6 roofs damaged!

Son Broes came along, lit a few more candles, but I objected: “Be careful Broes, we don’t know what else happens, we only have 3 candles.”

“Luckily I picked up Bart from Soure!” says Broes, “If he really had to come here by bike, he’d have been exactly in the middle of it.” Bart is “the young Bart” an old friend of the Termas, has volunteered here 12 years ago, and comes back regularly. A sports fan who thought it was a good idea to cycle to Fátima on Saturday the 13th. And back again.

Fortunately, he went back by train (you can take your bike on the train, costs nothing extra, no problem, you don’t even have to book) and that went a bit faster. I’d already received an app halfway through the afternoon: “Can someone next time tell me that after Sobral there’s not one meter flat in this country” – which made me laugh loudly.

Later I was very happy that he was in his room, because hurricane Leslie was violently present, and had chosen Figueira da Foz as landing spot instead of Lisbon. Figueira is 12 km away, as the crow flies, so we were the winners.

“Pffff, don’t you think this is boring?” Broes would have liked to sit at his computer to play a game or watch a movie, but that was completely beyond every possibility. You couldn’t step outside, you could feel the suction upwards – or was that my imagination? And it was pitch-black everywhere. We were of course badly prepared.

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“Boring. You find this boring. Okay. That’s also possible, of course.”

I hadn’t finished my sentence or there were Lucille and Tomas, the French guests, seeking protection in the warm candlelight in the kitchen. Especially Tomas had a bad time. It was difficult to ignore, because a hurricane doesn’t come quietly. It makes a lot of noise. You didn’t even hear the roof tiles fall on the street – it’s lost in the roar.

Mother Nature is angry. And we will know that too

Sorry, mommy! We didn’t mean it that way! We don’t know what we’re doing, we’re still a little stupid. It’s probably going to be a hell of a mess to change things so that mom gets a little more calm again.

So that man with the T-shirt will not be right with his: This is only the beginning!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

What to do on holiday? Here’s an idea: read!

I just read that we are all going to be cyborgs, much earlier than we think!

I just read the latest Dan Brown book. Origin. Once, a long time ago, I read the Da Vinci Code, just like everyone else. I started at the end of the afternoon with a good dose of skepticism – “We’ll see if it’s worth all those nice words” – and I put it away with red eyes around 4 o’clock at night.

How do they do that? Writing and creating such a page-turner? Fascinating

I skipped the others, it is not entirely my genre. There are too many helicopters in it, but the Da Vinci Code was ok.

The newest is left here by a guest, I suspect. I rarely buy books. There always comes a lot with the Red Bus in the spring, donated by family and friends, and it’s a lot of fun umpacking them.

Now this time, it wasn’t start and didn’t stop until it’s finished. Impossible, it’s “changing season”: still guests but already starting the maintenance work (maintaining all intermediairs to start with). So it was in small portions.

I always get up early, so I can have breakfast and read. And in the evening before bedtime. Always a book before bedtime. And the best thing: you can read everywhere!

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When I have a good book, I can stay in the story all day. Do you know the phenomenon?

A small part of your brain stays in the story a bit. I think that’s a magical thing. That’s why I think it might not be such a good idea, all that technology.
My main objection is that cyborgs probably don’t believe in fantasy, stories or fairy tales.

Reading is good for your imagination

As a good friend of mine always said: “You always have your most beautiful toy with you” Of course he meant your imagination. Now you have to develop it, and normally you don’t do anything else when you’re a child.

Times change, and children are more often behind a screen. Is that good for your imagination?

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No idea if that is scientific, but I personally don’t think so. Reading, on the other hand, is great for the development of fantasy and imagination. You have to make all images yourself, whilst reading a book.

We now host a young girl who likes to read. “She has already read 21 books in those two weeks that we are gone,” her mother says proudly, and yes, you can certainly be proud of that. Our library’s upside down, she has been there, and I like to see that because where else do we have all those books for?

The last thing she read was “You’re great!”

Totally agree. Readers are great!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

A good neighbour is better than a brother far off

I meet my new neighbour when she just throws a garbage bag into the big container, and I’m on my way to the washing machines.

It’s not the ideal place for a conversation, right next to the container, but we meet here, so let’s take the opportunity. Both Ruth and I are always doing things – she has her family, her business, arranging their emigration and all that comes with it. And what I have to do, dear readers, you know that more or less, isn’t it?

I have news! We have longterm-rental-neighbours!

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They’ve been around since the beginning of September, but there were so many other things to write about that it has not yet happened. It is a German family with three young children, who have had enough of Germany and want their children to grow in a more favorable climate. In every sense of the word.

They’ve been drawn to the big house – Casa Principal – the house where it all started for us so many years ago. Funny coincidence, or the friendly hand of the gods, or a nice twist of fate – choose your option.
We made a great deal. Until the end of this year the rent is the renovation of the upper floor. A few new windows and doors, a refurbished bathroom, some paint, and most of all: attention for that beautiful but neglected house!

It feels very appropriate for me. I feel like it’s right, this long-term rental

Jens showed me his work – wooden figurines, beautiful drawings, gorgeous photographs. See for yourself. Seeing these, one gets confidence that this upper floor will be wonderful.

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We all have to get used to it a bit. We have talked about it a number of times, there has been emails back and forth, but things happen that you never thought of.

The above-mentioned chat near the container is about how we make the combination “their children” and “my guests” at the pool. In summer it is not a problem because then there are always many children. That’s always enthusiastic & happy noise during the day and mysterious whispering plus the secretive running that comes with that in the evening.

After the high season we get a different kind of guests. Restseeking couples

They are not waiting for screaming children when they’re reading in the sun by the pool. Ruth and I briefly discuss how we can best solve this. That’s going very well – we all know that you can stumble over such things, and that you have to talk about that. It’s quickly solved.

We all want to be good neighbours.

The next day, at the end of the afternoon, I see their eldest running to the pool to see if anyone’s there. The deal is that they can splash and play as much as they want when no one’s there or will arrive, and when there are rest-seeking guests, they will make themselves scarce.

Meanwhile, our good old faithful long-term rental house is radiant – just like the family

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Houses don’t like to be empty. Now that there is a lot going in there again, it looks like it’s standing more upright, like it’s getting lighter and embracing the new company.
This is a good plan.

Life can be so simple if you all want to be good neighbours!


So yes, we have neighbours. Good plan, good experience till now. But er … keep in mind that there are 2 holiday homes less for rent. If you have plans – book on time!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

It’s not all puppies and sunshine

Yes, well yes, life is not that – not always at least. I mean we do have puppies (they’re soooooo cute! Two weeks old and they have their eyes open.) and a lot of sunshine, but er …. sometimes it’s a bit different than you want. Sometimes it goes wrong, or at least, it doesn’t go right.

And sometimes – as now – it is just one thing on top of the other

Sorry, dear readers, every week a humorous story with a positive undertone and a nice message is simply unrealistic. Just as it is most likely in your life as well. The season is over, just like always around this time, and where I secretly thought last week: “As nice as this is, will it ever be over? I need a vacation myself!” – it is apparently really finished now because nobody’s calling and nobody makes a reservation. I don’t get any warning e-mails from Booking.com anymore that someone is about to arrive (well yes, one), and none of AirBnB in which they congratulate me because there’s a booking for tonight! Yay!

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Life is good, in Portugal, but we are now in the “September low”

Not that something is going on, it’s more that a few thousand things don’t go as planned. And especially the waiting, I find that very frustrating. You always have to wait for everything everywhere. Portuguese are so miserable patient, it could make me scream from time to time.

And then you also get the final straw.

The final straw, as far as I’m concerned, was MEO’s bill

Our contract was over, so I’d informed here and there which company did what and where. I found out that fiber cable runs right in front of our doors, because the hotel nextdoor had asked for this. That’s what they call at MEO’s: “uma ligação dedicada” – a dedicated connection. They charge a small fortune for that.

This is not a problem for the owner of the “Pink Monster” next to us. The owner had arranged so much subsidies, European and Portuguese, that he can easily afford it. And he had committed fraud, people whisper, so his pockets are full. (Has he been punished for it, I don’t even know, I could ask about that at those whispering people …)

We need to improvise a bit more in that respect

Our ADSL connection is okay in itself, but sometimes it gets slower. In the evening after 9 o’clock it seems as if everyone opens the tap, so that the pressure becomes less. Then you can wait a long time until you get something uploaded. I’ve learned my lesson long ago, for that matter.

Better go to bed early, and try again warly in the morning, then it shoots through the air at the speed of light

I couldn’t resist to inquire about the fiber connection. That was waiting on the next level – but after a lot of calling and urging, I found out that they wanted 1,500 € for that.

Little bit much

Then a good-humored young man called to see if I was interested in their great offer of 41 euros per month, for television with 693 channels (I have been watching almost no television all my life, so all ok, dear boy), 24 Megas internet, phone and cell with all conversations / text messages (national than). They call it a Plan.

It’s the 3P MEO TOP 24M – Plan

And now I am heavily irritated and angry with myself that I’ve lost that piece of paper with all the notes (and the date because of the recording!), Because what happens? They sent a bill of 65 €.

Look, I don’t think so. That’s popular tripe

And I’m still not indifferent or cynical enough for that. I find it being complicit in a deception of the public. They know very well that they’re the only serious provider here. The only “competitor” is NOS, but you hear such bad things about that – I don’t want to run that risk.

They always win of course. But! I have put down an act of resistance: I didn’t return the signed contract. Portuguese are incredibly bureaucratic, but as long as you pay, they’ll deliver – that’s what greed does. They know that you’ll not run away – that’s what dependency does.

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Are there by any chance readers who know how to dig up that cable, cut it and connect it – in exchange for a nice holiday?

That’s a beautiful dream for tonight to fall asleep. Dream resistance. Against that nightmare-like bureaucracy

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Baby dogs for free

I had seen them from the corners of my eyes.

Two little rascals in the meadow with our three big donkeys. I hadn’t paid so much attention to it, probably thrown out of the car. That happens so often. Baby dogs are not really a gift from heaven here.

What should you do with baby dogs? Nobody wants them, certainly not if it’s a girl

Every night, when I got in the car to go to the meadow with three bowls of ração for João, Bambi and Faísca, I saw them hide in the bushes.

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Later that month there was only one, and I got complaints that there had been “something” in the trash cans of the guest rooms. After all, I finally took a box of dog food to the donkey’s meadow, because of course we can’t have that, messing around with trash cans.

After the summer, the donkeys went back to the orchard, to the other extreme of our village

The dog moved secretly with them, but became slightly less shy. She seemed to be quite clever, very different from another dog that I had picked up from the road. We had called that one Wolf, because he had a wolf’s head. The rest of his body was not so well made, it looked more like a frizzy sheep. He had too much hair for this climate. And he was savagely dumb.

The first time I succeeded in stroking her she had approached reluctantly. After a few gentle strokes over her head and shoulders she was so happy that she ran like a tornado round the shed. So fast that you could hardly see her anymore.

That was the beginning. She got a bit looser, just stayed with her friends the donkeys, even when there were people around. Especially João was her big love. She licked his eyes clean, and sometimes played with him, that is to say: he remained on his spot, a bit clumsy, and she ran around him and jumped to his head.

Always in the company of the donkeys. Her big friends

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After living with such a creature for a while, and it became clear that she was there to stay, ao the need arose for a name. Gosh, what’s a good name for that animal? We gave her a name in the best Portuguese tradition: function and occupation in one.

Donkeydog – in english, because it had to be international of course. That everyone can understand it

Some people call her Donkiedonk. Also fine. In the meantime she’s so used to being the darling-of-all last summer. She went somewhere special on the stairs to a house, or a terrace to provoke nice treatment.

She knows she may not go in anywhere, that she is not wanted on the village square or by the swimming pool, but I can’t forbid her to just walk past a house at a time when she knows that sweet little boy is at home …?

She has now become a mother. Gave birth to her first litter. Now she was an “old prime” as my sister the midwife always indicated during the table conversations: a somewhat older woman who gets a first child. She prevented previous pregnancies by simply sitting on her ass in case of any interest. She did so – thank God! – when Wolf got an interest in her.

I thought that was a brilliant solution, and proof of her intelligence

Unfortunately she didn’t do that this time. And I know the father. At least … know … I chased him away a number of times. A black-haired tramp, he looked good, a little neglected but not an unattractive dog. “Oh no, Helena L.!” I said to myself, “we have picked up enough dogs from the street. Not again!”

You can’t re-educate severely mistreated dogs, They’ve spent their lives on a chain or in a cage, and never interacted with humans that much. Not like here, anyway.

That is to say: I can’t re-educate them. My pedagogical qualities are nil in that respect, and I’m far too impatient. Just ask my sons. They know everything about that.

I hardened my heart and chased him away. But he left his mark. Two marks, in fact.

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A sweet baby dog, anyone?

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....
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